Kahleah Copper: Making USA Basketball’s Olympic roster is my ‘No. 1 moment’

Jun 12, 2024, 3:02 PM

Kahleah Copper...

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 09: Kahleah Copper #2 of the Phoenix Mercury poses for a portrait during media day at Footprint Center on May 09, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Phoenix Mercury guard Kahleah Copper was left off the U.S. women’s basketball roster to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. But three years later, Copper will represent the United States in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

USA Women’s National Team director Brianna Weiss paid a special visit to deliver Copper the news that she was one of 12 players to be named to the U.S. women’s basketball roster in this year’s Olympics. It will be Copper’s first time competing in the Olympics after being cut from the roster in 2021.

Being able to make the roster was an emotional moment for Copper.

Despite not being able to compete in the Olympics in 2021, Copper was an instrumental piece in the Chicago Sky’s first and only WNBA championship run. She was named the 2021 WNBA Finals MVP after averaging 17 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game during the four-game series win over the Phoenix Mercury.

The championship run with the Sky was Copper’s No. 1 moment in her basketball career.

“Being able to get Finals MVP playing with greats, it could’ve went any other way,” Copper said. “That season was so special because I felt so let down by not making that team. For me to turn around and win a championship and then playing with future Hall of Famers and to get Finals MVP, nobody in the beginning of the season would’ve said it was going to be me. That was my No. 1 for a while.”

Now that she will get a chance to represent her country on the world’s stage, she has a new No. 1.

“People see this, people see game-winners, but y’all don’t see what it takes. How many nights,” Copper said. “You prepare so long for this, but for it to happen to me in year nine, it’s so special. It’s definitely No. 1.”

“I wouldn’t change my journey for anything.” Copper added. “I think it made me into the person and player that I am so I wouldn’t change it for anything.”

Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner make USA Basketball’s Paris Olympics roster

Copper wasn’t the only Mercury player named to the U.S. women’s basketball roster as Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner also made the cut. It will mark a record sixth Olympic appearance for Taurasi and a third appearance for Griner.

Phoenix Mercury

WNBA All-Star Game...

Alex Weiner

Competitive 2024 WNBA All-Star Game gives Phoenix showcase of league’s deep talent

Team USA head coach Cheryl Reeve set up Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game in Phoenix as one of the greatest spectacles in league history.

23 hours ago

caitlin clark...

Associated Press

WNBA rookies Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese provide All-Star Game with highlight moment

Caitlin Clark delivered the passes and Angel Reese supplied the hustle, as the rookies made life difficult for Team USA at the All-Star Game.

23 hours ago

Arike Ogunbowale...

Alex Weiner

Arike Ogunbowale wins Phoenix WNBA All-Star Game MVP

Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale took over in the second half of Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game at Footprint Center to take home the MVP award.

1 day ago

Diana Taurasi...

Alex Weiner

Mercury’s Diana Taurasi gets All-Star Game started from downtown

Mercury star Diana Taurasi kicked off Saturday's WNBA All-Star Game with a triple in front of the home crowd at Footprint Center.

1 day ago

Basketball Hall of Famer Cheryl Miller, left, greets fans during the first half of an NCAA college ...

Associated Press

Mercury legend Cheryl Miller filled with pride for Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese making mark in WNBA

As Mercury legend Cheryl Miller prepares to coach Team WNBA, she is filled with pride for Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese.

1 day ago


Associated Press

Allisha Gray becomes 1st player to win both 3-point and skills competition at WNBA All-Star

Allisha Gray became the first player in WNBA history to win both the 3-point and skills competition in the same year.

2 days ago

Kahleah Copper: Making USA Basketball’s Olympic roster is my ‘No. 1 moment’